The Jazzonian
Jazz is Diversity. Jazz is Democracy.

#Wheelchairistocracy

From the demented mind of Rusty Taylor
Jester and Vocalist for jazz band
Southern Standard Time
A Monthly Newsletter
September 2018

The Jazzonian is a quirky e-newsletter published monthly unless the author is somehow incapacitated. It details the growing jazz scene in Columbus, Georgia and the surrounding Chattahoochee Valley, written exclusively by Rusty Taylor, a Mercer alumnus and the quadriplegic jester-singer for the vocal jazz band Southern Standard Time. The newsletter takes a rhetorical approach to current events from the point of view of a progressive student of Life who, for thirty-two years and counting, has been unable to perform even the most rudimentary acts of daily living.

But he can write... and sing.

Monthly Musician Birthdays
September

September 1
1925 - Art Pepper - sax (died June 15, 1982)

September 2
1928 - Horace Silver - piano

September 5
1915 - John Cage - composer and music theorist (died August 12, 1992)

September 7
1930 - Sonny Rollins - sax
1936 - Buddy Holly - singer/songwriter (died February 3, 1959)
  • Buddy died in a plane crash along with Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, and a pilot named Roger Peterson. The plane was named ''Miss American Pie''

September 9
1927 - Elvin Ray Jones - drummer (died May 18, 2004)
1941 - Otis Redding - singer (died December 10, 1967)
1951 - Tom Wopat - singer/actor
  • As an aside, Tom Wopat played Luke Duke on the television series ''Dukes of Hazzard.''
1975 - Michael Buble - singer

September 11
1964 - Victor Wooten - bass
1967 - Harry Connick Jr. - pianist/vocalist

September 13
1925 - Mel Torme - singer/composer (died June 5, 1999)

September 15

September 16
1921 - Jon Carl Hendricks - singer (died November 22, 2017)
1925 - Riley ''BB'' King - blues guitar (died May 14, 2015)
1925 - Charlie Byrd - guitar (died December 2, 1999)
1953 - Earl Klugh - guitar

September 23
1926 - John William Coltrane - sax (died July 17, 1967)
1930 - Ray Charles Robinson - singer/pianist (died June 10, 2004)


September 24
1923 - Theodore ''Fats'' Navarro - trumpet (died July 7, 1950)

September 26
1898 - George Jacob Gershwin - composer (died July 11, 1937)
1926 - Julie London - singer (died October 18, 2000)

September 27
1924 - Earl Rudolph ''Bud'' Powell - piano (died July 31, 1966)

September 29
1942 - Jean-Luc Ponty - violin

September 30
1917 - Bernard ''Buddy'' Rich - drums (died April 2, 1987)
1935 - Johnny Royce Mathis - singer
Happy birthday Victor Wooten, September 11
Points of Interest
in this month's issue

  • Salutations
  • To Be or Not...
  • Edenic Chimera
  • And Another Thing
  • Justified Indifference
  • Corporate America
  • Questions to Ask Pro-Lifers
  • Word Origins
  • Glossary
  • Tweets of the Month
  • Groovy Upcoming Events
  • A Little Lunch Music
  • Misguided Charity (An Autobiographical Story)
  • It’s A Quad Thing; You May Not Understand
  • Poetry
  • I Need Your Help… Your Advice
  • Valediction
Friday Evening Jazz at The Loft
Monthly Schedule for September 2018
  • September 07 - Cubed Roots with Lloyd Buchanan
  • September 14 - The Blue Note with Reggie Sampson
  • September 21 - Trey Donnahoo Quartet
  • September 28 - Daniel Bowden

Salutations

Greetings!...

First… I want to assure the handful of fans who actually read The Jazzonian that there is no collusion in publishing this monthly electronic periodical. None. Zero. No puppet… you’re the puppet. And even if I colluded with anyone regarding its content, it’s not illegal. And even if it is illegal, I will have had colluded to save this e-newsrag from the nefarious intentions of apocryphal and nebulous opposition. And I refuse to be interviewed by any independent counsel because it will have had been a perjury trap, which, as everybody knows, is illegal; one’s ability to lie under oath, especially when used against my adversaries, should be legally adjudicated by a group of supremacist… uh, I mean supremely courting barristers, the majority of whom concur with my dictates. My potential downfall will be the result of somebody else’s deceit, not my incompetence…

You know, using this “I am the victim” defense of puerilism isn’t very effective when employed as a means to persuade discerning thinkers of… well, of anything; although, it does accentuate the ridiculous speciosity of Trump’s entire political exploitation. My apologies. I was shooting for satire, but the accompanying rhetoric drips too much with the embarrassing reality that the current administration of our nation’s political hierarchy, including the GOP and SCOTUS, is so childish… Ooops.

It saddens me that my nephews don’t know who Joni Mitchell is.

And now… The Jazzonian presents…

Another month has passed, and it’s been a bit crazy, but I feel the winds of change stirring within the microcosm of our shared terrestrial manifestation, major changes, global, life affirming, and filled with hope; it’s been a bit unnerving as well. These changes accompany a political vagary that inundates the media with outrageous superfluity intended to distract from the larger systematic plan to undermine our nation’s democratic ideology so that by the time I publish this monthly e-newsrag, much of the thematic content feels trite. However, the fight against political apathy seems to be maintaining a steady, determined coulee of ember-heaving desire for a revolutionary shift in political puissance that emphasizes social diversity as well as moderation in the distribution of resources between disparate economic strata, a social conflict not unlike the Civil War.

I really dislike writing pejoratively about my kith and kin who voted for Trump, but I believe strongly that I might be able to disclose the intentions of these people by delving more into their lives. Of course, nothing is exclusive. The instinctual self-survival of Capitalistic Conservatives seems to be the primary incentive for the acceptance of our nation’s current iniquitous economic agenda simply because an insignificant percentage of humanity receives a slight but speciously lucrative benefit at the expense of the human community. I look at the lifestyles of these people (who use superfluity to justify their advantage), and it is depressing: they all have achieved a façade of success, yet they are unhappy. Why? I suggest that, like Richard Cory, they’ve come to realize that by associating with concordant doctrines of social aspiration, they limit their own volition.

“Take mankind in mass, and for the most part, they seem a mob of unnecessary duplicates” (Herman Melville).

After a year-and-a-half of incessant doltishness (a-DOLT-ery), Donald Trump’s fumbling, blundering, floundering, bungling, lumbering, and stumbling social retardation has somewhat quieted many of his supporters… finally… although, a scant few deplorable dregs have bitterly remained loyal to their cultic allegiance, and they have proudly, concurrently, and contrarily shouted---even louder and with more hateful irrational passion---their fawning unctuosity for magnified ignorance sparkling in specious rhinestones and exaggerated plastic pulchritude sans beauty. The aspect of all the histrionics is that it so overtly fails to camouflage the embarrassment of being so totally yet passionately wrong about idolizing the antithesis of harmony and that this unjustified obsequiousness gnaws at the tender sensibilities of impenetrable agnatic pride, which makes it nearly impossible to welcome any accompanying guilt that might ameliorate the anguishing ferocity dictating and perpetuating cultic devotion to narcissistic antics that dichotomously sever lifelong moral principles simply for the temporal pleasure of immediate gratification.

On a personal level, I hang out with retired university professors, jazz musicians, and people who enjoy ruminating arcanum while too many of Trump’s supporters herd themselves into indulgent flocks of extreme cultic loyalty; they listen exclusively to themes that emphasize immediate, privileged gratification; they lust for the honky-tonk angels of achromatic country music and spend hours watching achromatic NASCAR while whining about how baseball (which is too kaleidoscopic, i.e. it has too many players of color) is so boring and time-consuming—I reckon that the hours spent watching machines roar around in circles is somehow justified by… hell, I don’t know—and these myopic troglodytes generally wall themselves within delineated borders of seclusion that prevent communication with alternate realities that they affirm are irrelevant, an authority corroborated exclusively by a passionate, irrevocable faith in the inviolability of their soi-disant perspicacity. The people with whom I hang realize their own liabilities, and they express these concerns by emphasizing empathy for lack of egocentric perfection whereas Trump supporters feel infallible; they, contrarily, believe that the veracity of disclosing one’s feelings demonstrates weakness in character. Again, it’s a conflict between inclusive matriarchy and exclusive patriarchy.

It is interesting to apprehend the supernumerary number of former GOP politicians and pundits who are now sought after by the mainstream media to advise how the Democratic Party should run on a campaign of abrasively pejorative anti-Trump mania without their understanding that Trump’s unpopularity is the downfall of the former GOP that needs no stoking. They seem to ignore the fact that, for the most part, Progressive voters possess more penetrating mental discernment than their political adversaries, i.e. the cult of “irrelephantic” ovine supplication to the illusory capitalistic golden calf of Mammon; we know that patience is a valid strategy in the political arena. GOP covets immediate gratification whereas Progressives are more capable of seeing advantages in silent fortitude. Voting doesn’t happen until November; it is not a valid option for a couple months; there’s no need to attack the woefully inadequate Trumpian agenda that is so overtly failing, embarrassingly, especially in its negatively affecting one’s sense of empathy for others or one’s moral obligations to a more equitable and peaceful coexistence with one’s neighbors. What concerns me most as I write this particular essay is that Trump and his lackeys will be incarcerated before its publication, and the essay I write just one month prior to its publication will be irrelevant when it is introduced for public consumption.

One can hope.

In the interim, I use Jazz to assuage personal internal mental chaos fueled by the current political unrest that easily ignites intensive emotional conflagration of the fiery Santa Ana emblazoned maelstrom of my irrational passion. (Encomiastic exaltations to the musical gods Satchmo and The Bird for providing humanity the soul-massaging appanage of Jazz!) Earlier in the month of August, I had one of the most positive experiences of my life, and it quickened during the weekly jazz jam in which I participate at Eighth and Rail in Opelika, Alabama, a hub of erudite urbanity abutting the academic citadel of Auburn University, which is, serendipitously, an intense, ember-breathing hotbed of progressive energy nestled within the bastion of myopic red-state ignorance that fosters cultic supplication to gilded demagoguery.

It was one of those nights that happen infrequently when everything seemed to line up nearly exclusively to coddle my exaggerated sense of self-importance. The universe united to make me feel like a god, a non-ambulatory god but a god nonetheless. The Jane Drake Band, that hosts the jam, was on fire, and guest musicians Nick Johnson (sax) and Burdette Becks (flute and vocals) supplemented the auricular thaumaturgy that sated my corporeal and spiritual quintessence. The audience also seemed more in tune with the vocal delivery of my melodic reverence. I was finishing “Black Orpheus,” the coda, the musical denouement; my eyes were closed and I was intensely focused on every note from every musical voice that adorned the stage when the final note suspired into the crack between the edge of terrestrial existence and infinity; the active listeners exploded into riotous approval so urgent that a wave of emotion extravasated my corporeal entirety with such tranquility that, for a nanosecond, I experienced peripheral perfection.

Peace Through Music
Richard Cory
by Edwin Arlington Robinson


Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich yes, richer than a king
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Abel 2, Inc.

Mission Statement: To enhance the Quality of Life of People with Disabilities and the Under-served by Creating Music and Arts opportunities for Employment and Enjoyment!


  • Are you a Performing Artist (singer, dancer, musician, actor, comedian, poet, etc.)?

  • Do you have a disability?  

  • Do you know anyone who is?  

Abel 2 wants you to promote your talent!

We are in the process of building a database of performing artists with disabilities who reside in the Southeast. Send us the contact name and information on our "Contact Us" page or email us at Abel2Nonprofit@aol.com. Be sure to include your talent, level of experience, head shot, and video of one of your performances. Click on banner for more info about Abel 2 or click the photo of Myrna Clayton, artistic/executive director for Abel 2.
To Be or Not...
An Archived Essay

Global warming is a fact. Whether or not this dramatic phenomenon is catalyzed by human activity is a debate amplified by a desperate people’s self-realized and thereby invalid absolution (without spiritual authority) for the overly exaggerated hubristic histrionics over their unconditional support for anything that gives the appearance of justification for maintaining and nourishing a set of circumstances that will insidiously extinct the human race while the planet (that has been extant for 4.6 million years prior to the Anthropocene Era, which witnessed humanity’s rise to the top of a pyramidal scheme of dominance unconcerned with the more subtle yet more enriching aspects of a geocentric agenda, the ignorant and egocentric coveting of self-augmenting affluence that includes, but is not limited to, the capitalistic agenda of exploiting planetary resources to exclusively benefit a trifling, superficial number of human chattel who live superficially opulently while her brothers wallow in the chemically volatile bodily excrement from the superciliously elite who unconsciously ruminate on sybaritic thrones dedicated to regaling coprophilic elimination)… the planet will continue its modus operandi sans human deprecation, i.e. the planet will continue to protect itself from what is the probable apocalyptic virus of humanity: Earth will inoculate itself from microbial humanity using global warming; intense firestorms in California, Sweden, and Greece; ravaging hurricanes; and the furor of summer squalls all of which have morphed into lethal environmental assaults to our species’ detriment.

The first line of Prince Hamlet’s famous soliloquy states, “I am alone.” This is where we are: collectively alone. There is no super heroine to pull our sorry and tired asses out of another “fine mess you got me in.” It is we, alone. We are so innocuous to any extraterrestrial sentience that exists beyond our mammalian periphery… if they exist. So, again, even if they do exist, ETs are uninterested in anything we have to offer; we’ve got to save ourselves. We, a sublunary biological species, must seriously contemplate our fate. Like Hamlet, we must ask whether or not we, as a species of disparate cultures, want “to be or not to be,” whether we should collectively turn the other cheek and “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes” or die trying to fight back—to “take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing [these redoubtable antagonists], end them.”

King Lear takes the illusory power of patriarchal authority to the extreme when he so irrationally disowns his favorite daughter for thinking for herself, especially since he, her father, the bearer of the crown, the symbol of irrevocable terrestrial authority, is the man who made his intentions very clear. The man is king of his castle, especially when his castle represents the nation. It’s this kind of hubris that the GOP, and, more specifically, Mitch McConnell, so brazenly taunts as they bait the Southern Strategy Monster they created using the napalm infusing rhetoric of divisiveness, which segregates our country into opposing electrical charges that reject each other. All we have to do is reverse the polarity; we will then attract one another with a fairly redoubtable bond.

Of course, we all know the fates of both Hamlet and King Lear, but a main catalyst for their respective demises is the fact that they waited too long to respond to the threats that ultimately usurped their life forces. We, the contemporary inhabitants of Mother Earth, are at the bifurcated crossroads of our existence. Both paths are arduous, but only one leads to the possible recovery of our species’ terrestrial salvation. We, the citizens of the entire planet, have come to the point of asking ourselves, as a diverse but unified global community of human beings, whether we want to be… or not to be.

Peace Through Music
To Be?

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep.
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

Edenic Chimera
I’ve been thinking… well, I inspired a heavy drag on the illuminative Pipe of Knowledge, and its precipitant cerebral influence impelled the meandering dream-weave of thought-explosions within my secular cerebration—I have been encouraged to muse on an idea that verges on the ridiculous, initially, but then settles softly, insidiously, on the firmer cornerstone of possibility before indelibly anchoring to the solid foundation of veracity: Vladimir Putin covets a pure, Russian nationalism… and Eden is homophobic.

It’s time that we, as a nation, finally admit that the current schism that rifts our nation (and, by extension, the planet) is racial. We, as terrestrial guests of the planet who have been deigned existence via some ineffable puissance—especially during the insignificant paucity of time our species has been dominate and, more specifically, during the meager few centuries after the nationally sanctioned rapine of bounteous lands from indigenous brethren as well as their European adversaries—must come to terms with the realization that the governing agents of U.S.A., from the beginning, ensured that property owners receive special privileges that weaken opportunities for “undesirable” people, and these guidelines have been adopted by other segregated boundaries of disparate nationalistic interests. The Catholic Church got involved, heavily, and, by extension, practically every social community gasping specious opportunities that, in reality, are insignificant.

When the Catholic Church became institutionalized, its main focus shifted from promoting post-terrestrial human salvation to running a business. It happens. We’ve seen many entrepreneurs transmogrify from empathetic people into shiny objects of haute disinterest, but they’ve been at it for millennia.

Patriarchal power is intoxicating. There’s no two ways about it, but people in power soon get nervous that somebody else may want the same privileges and are willing to kill or die for the opportunity to exploit the weak. It simply increases the passion of the abusive leader’s lust and, thereby, increases her vulnerability. It’s really quite simple: if one wants to be a leader, she must advocate an emulous matriarchal platform that increases opportunities for the most. Simply promote a modus operandi that the majority of one’s adherents want to follow, not a set of unrealistic expectations that are forced to be realized with military expediency or ambiguity.

Peace Through Music
And Another Thing
As the unofficial national jester of the D.S.A. (Disjointed States of America), I find it exalting to metaphorically cop a buzz and ruminate about… well, to cerebrally mull over the disjointed disparity [serendipitous alliteration, a gift from my personal Muse] of the sinuously and viscerally stimulating montage of affecting imagery used by demagogues to influence cultic allegiances to sophistry that diurnally inundates my sobriety with the quotidian confidence of something like the sunrise that happens with such regularity that it feels irrevocably insane to question its symmetry until its invariable destruction becomes as overt as the realization that the Universe is adversely hostile to human existence. (In other words, humanity is superfluous; in the macrocosm of universal reality, the comparably insignificant manifestation of our exclusive terrestrially mammalian species is expendable… we are not the nexus to Omniscience.)

In one of my more recent metaphoric and chemically induced stuporous reflections—the botanical amelioration of negatively influential emotion that excites my intellectual center—my Muse incited my consciousness with the possible realization that the Brachydactylic Donald J[ackanapes] Trump the Kleptocratic Moron, the Muscovite Marionette who is titular head of our nation’s current kakistocracy, has so many relationships with nefarious characters from poorly written yellow fiction that each confederate participant couldn’t possibly realize just how deeply Trump’s exploitation is involved. It seems that, at the time that I’m writing this particular essay, that Trump’s constituency is realizing just how unstable Donny “Little Hands” Trump’s lack of any discernable mental acuity is, that Donny is an unrecoverable nuisance. They will soon turn on him (Of course, by the time of this article's intended publication in September, this process may have already been realized.)

Peace Through Music

Justified Indifference
An Archived Essay
It seems to me that in the nation to which I have been innately bound, there exists a large, vitriolic group of people motivated to maintain the status quo and its myopic, irrevocable insistence that regulatory government is a bane to societal welfare and that Big Business is the panacea that cures all communal maladies even though these ideas have historically produced legislation that has increased the economic chasm between ludicrous wealth and abject poverty... and both parties are to blame. The saddest aspect of embracing this illusory reality is that many people ridiculously believe that poverty is a choice.

These are the same lost minds that insensitively parrot irrational sound bites decrying a nationally justified outcry against socialism or communism. Of course, these vituperative protestations are initiated by groups of people who, like me, have much more than they need to survive. Unlike me, however, these people are not inclined to share (unless it somehow benefits them) nor are they inclined to take less even if our society would benefit. The USA is one of the richest countries on the planet, yet it not only has rampant poverty, it has citizens dying of malnourishment. This is a sin against humanity made easier to accept by classifying people into groups defined as worthy and unworthy.

I am a writer. I am a poet. I am a singer. As long as I have a place to do these activities, regardless of how humble, I will be as happy as a tick on an elephant, provided I have enough nourishment to sustain my health as well as a health care system to allow me to continue doing the things I love to do. I am more than willing to give up many of the luxury items I possess to have access to food, shelter, and health, but then the activities I most enjoy (reading, writing, and singing) are activities that command much more than a modicum of mental acuity. These activities are rewards onto themselves; they encourage self-esteem merely because they exist within the boundaries of my cerebral kingdom, a virtual realm that does not necessitate materialistic excess. I do not need expensive eye candy to validate any falsely perceived belief in intellectual or moralistic superiority. These are merely illusions of happiness and a mockery of self-esteem.

Does this make me a liberal? A socialist? A communist? A willing prisoner of my own lack of motivation? I have no idea. These words have been forged by politicians of both parties so that they, to me, are now meaningless. Besides, their definitions seem to be inspired subjectively, by individual philosophy, by whether or not one is into a more cerebral mindset or if one is more into physiological or carnal interpretations of life, if one is stimulated physically or mentally, and it seems that those of us who are stimulated cerebrally tolerate a more social or communal interpretation of governmental influence whereas the other mind set, more threatened with possible loss of the wealth that defines their very existence, are more intolerant of socialistic or communally inspired ideology... are more despotic, totalitarian in their rejection of alternative thinking.

Billie Holiday was a wonderful, emotionally stirring vocalist of jazz and blues who grew to international prominence from abject poverty. For those of you who still think that poverty is a choice, I offer you lyrics to a song entitled Strange Fruit , a song Billie performed for over twenty years:


Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves
Blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
The scent of magnolia sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
for the rain to gather
for the wind to suck
for the sun to rot
for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop


Yes, it’s easy to disregard certain groups of people after they’ve been caricatured as lazy, unkempt, uneducated, unmotivated, etc. regardless of the fact that the millionaires who have always been instrumental in affecting our governmental policies to their advantage have insured that the status quo remains relatively unchanged, that the wealthy remain so and that the poor not only remain so but with haughty contempt. This is the very definition of conservatism, and the conservatives have always had a plangent voice that for some reason sounds like intellectualism to them who covet their neighbor’s materialistic excess.

Peace Through Knowledge
June 6, 2012

Corporate America
On January 6, 1992, I, a twenty-seven year old, retro, pot-smokin’, diversity-embracin’, peace-lovin’ hippie-jester, entered the white collar business world of terrestrial indifference, knowingly lept feet first into a growl-snarling planet-destroying corporate fraternity of pasty white corpulent middle-aged men bent on outrageous wealth acquisition at the cost of human dignity and nature’s beauty, a speciously nefarious environment that I, a child of the ecologically empowered 70s, envisioned as the evil enemy of Smokey the Bear, Woodsy the Owl, and the crying Native American Indian, all of whom encouraged Universal harmony through moderation.

Anxiously, my delving into corporate America was the most ambivalent thing I had ever done, although supernumerary pathos-evoking questions darted through my cranial gray matter like a sporadic flock of avian interest collectively sputter-jerking in frenetic synchronized fury against a greasy-pallid gray evening sky, the hazy sun silently squinting and seeping through dread-leaden mist, morphing into a deliquescent flaming ball churning in heated turmoil, innocuous in its distance—a fuzzy-oval golden tear straining through ominously slashed orange watercolors and splash-spraying radial rays of Life to pierce through wide single brush strokes of an evermore subtle-somber indigo hue. Was corporate life to be a polished, poisoned apple?

On one hand, I had been given an opportunity (probably because I’m white) to earn decent money (much more than I’m worth) and enough free time to pursue my dreams of singing, writing, and reading. This is good... positive, but I also witnessed the nefarious side of corporate life, a life that screams from corpulent board members and blissfully blind international watch-dogs an unreasonably high and completely impossible standard of morality unconscionably dressed in expensive Italian suits, riding beaming automobiles, living in gated neighborhoods that conceal luxurious castles with manicured lawns—meticulously caressed by “undeserving” minorities—and the gluttonous consumption of calories from imported beef priced hundreds of dollars per pound; a specious set of standards that is even now superfluously recognized as the paradigm of success based on feigned moral achievement merely because it is represented by annual salaries boasting an unseemly amount of significant digits, unimaginable wealth accumulation by glabrous-pated, middle-aged, Caucasian, hypocritically ludicrous cupidity.

Granted, not everyone in corporate America is caught up in the belief that spending lavishly on oneself will help the economy remain strong and vibrant, but it is a temptation nearly impossible to overcome, especially when it is supplemented with an unfailing belief that one’s wealth is a direct measure of one’s spiritual worth, that we aristocrats deserve ludicrous riches because of our high moralistic values, our Christian conservatism, our Jesus said that there will ALWAYS be poor so my indifference makes no difference attitude that somehow allows us to justify having two Cadillac Escalades in our three-car garages while only blocks away families huddle around impoverished cupboards, dreaming of fresh bread.

Yes, I was (and still am), at times, ashamed that I made so much money and did so little in return. The question that ran (and still runs) through my mind is why have I so much? I am one of the richest men on the planet. I am upper-middle class, and I’ve done nothing morally relevant to deserve it... then nor now, and yes, I realize that my paralysis is a challenge tendered by forces beyond my understanding and that I’m probably doing the best I can, especially considering my current inability to survive on my own... but it seems that I could do more, and this is my personal struggle.

From the beginning of my self-imposed Capitalistic incarceration, I had, in all likelihood, pushed my paralysis to the very limits of corporate, and possibly civil, tolerance. For the first eight years of my employment with TSYS, I worked in the Annex building on the south side of 10th Street between Fifth Avenue and Veteran’s Parkway (formerly Fourth Avenue). It really was an abattoir, but instead of a daily bloody massacre of organic meat, this slaughterhouse insidiously seeped away each life that shuffled through its doors, day after day ad nauseam. Maybe that’s why we were always pretty punchy.

In all seriousness, the Annex was a sarcophagus. The only windows were in the offices that lined the inside perimeter of the bland, stucco-white rectangular building; the sunless barren corporate hinterland remained, and that’s where some sad genius constructed an endless maze for humans. There were only three exits, and the maze stretched to the horizon, which hung below the din glow of florescent lighting. Although easy to solve, the maze presented so many unique challanges and obstacles that it generally took a human specimen eight or nine hours, sometimes more, to overcome the barriers that prevented escape. Then the drained employee might leave the maze, but she always seemed to return the following morning. Mostly without fail. Again, no wonder we were all punchy.

The main entrance into the Annex hinterland was the lobby, and, as information area to the greater corporate network, TSYS always hired someone to humanize the post. This position saw a high turnover rate, but that’s because TSYS is a fairly exclusive opportunity for employment in the city, and once these cats got their foot in the door, they would apply to other areas of interest within the company as soon as reasonably possible, so the person hired to maintain the building’s integrity generally started as a temporary position. One such temp was Maria.

Maria was a very interesting person; she was actually training for the Olympics. Archery. She was probably five-two, slim, attractive; she had Marlo Thomas curly black hair and enchanting brown eyes. She was in the lobby, and the lobby, as stated before, opened up into the never-ending maze of human chattel, corralled into individual, miniature pens, human supplicants typing lifelessly on keyboards as their ruminating faces glowed green from mainframe monitors. The lobby emptied into a short hall, ten steps, until one entered the Zombie Zone. I was third cube on the right, just across from a high executive’s office, mindin’ my own business, busy doing my work as Maria was being bombarded with a crash-course, don’t-worry-you’ll-get-a-hold-of-it-soon, everybody-goes-through-this encouragement of an ol’ pro teachin’ a novice the tricks of the trade. After her mentor left her, I wheeled up to Maria and asked her to page John to my cube.

John was deaf.

Maria had been warned that I might do something like this because I had tried before with other temps but failed; however, Maria had just been overwhelmed by forty-five minutes of lawnmower shouting, rapid-fire banter from a mindless pedagogue; she was brain-warped by an incessant stream of twisted oral rhetoric.

John’s name, like the smoky runes from Lewis Carol’s hookah-smoking caterpillar, softly floated inches below the ceiling before mockingly seeping into the vast Universe that militantly charged away from the total silence of the building as everyone within collectively questioned whether or not laughter was appropriate, all the while fighting back the humorously decadent audacity to react at what was, in fact, not only really creative but very funny as well. Besides, John wouldn’t have known unless somebody told him. Who’s the bad guy now?

It wasn’t the first time I worked up anxiety within the consciousnesses of carbon-based, well-intentioned yet highly misguided social-puppets who become frustrated through such confusion, but I think it was the most effective to date. The beauty of it was that I didn’t get in trouble, corporate trouble, that is, the kind of trouble from which one never recovers if one’s goals lie [pun intended] in the Corporate Office, the leather chairs, the impressive portrait, the Rolex. That’s when I first garnered a little bit of a reputation for intolerance of euphemistic expression, and I learned that, as a cripple , I could get away with a few more things that I would not have gotten away with otherwise. I also garnered a reputation for wit, and with that comes a different set of challenges.

Lewis Darylson was the kind of guy everyone seemed to pick on, but he brought it upon himself very often. When I first started working, Lewis would often walk up to me and say something snide in an effort to get a laugh from whomever was around, but I always rebutted with a more interesting and often more scathing wit. Every time. Sometimes he’d stumble away from my injurious rhetoric, get a few feet down the hall, then he’d quickly turn around in a delayed verbal counterattack to announce his sadly attempted rebut only to be taken down again. I don’t know why, but it happened without fail, and there would always be a small crowd around to witness his verbal lashing. This lasted for about three months before he realized how badly he was losing, then he’d only assault me every other week; then every other month; then he moved away.

One day we were sitting next to Juanita’s cube (she was an administrative secretary for one of the big wigs), and I casually mentioned that my leg itched. Lewis bent over and asked if he could scratch it for me, which he did. “There... no wait... over... left... LEFT... Ah! Right there.”

I can’t feel my legs.

I thought everyone knew. Incidentally, I thought that Lewis was just playing along when he scratched my legs, but the peal of laughter from Juanita told me fairly clearly that I had, once again, although unintentionally, gotten the better of Lewis.

* * *

Every so often someone within the campus would suggest a lunch at Dinglewood Pharmacy for “Lieutenant’s” world famous scrambled dog (says so right on the menu). One day a group of us went. As you might expect, Lewis’s order varied greatly from the traditional “I’ll have a scrambled dog, double-wienie, double cheese, extra onions, please.” (And don’t forget the vanilla coke that totally refreshes after all the Tabasco with which you’ve dowsed the dog.) For whatever reason (I wasn’t put here on Earth to judge), Lewis ordered a scrambled dog without the dog. When the waitress brought our order over to the table, she asked, “Which of you is Mr. No-wienie?”

Lewis’ hand shot up as eagerly as a third-grader’s request to go pottie. 

* * *

One of Life’s most important lessons, one I learned when I worked at Muscogee Manor Nursing Home: befriend the women and men who work in the Maintenance Department. These cats are, without fail, some of the most wonderful people in corporate America; they’re real and are always willing to help someone in need then treat them to a beer after they’ve solved the problem.

I used a division of my city’s public transportation department to get to work: Dial-A-Ride, which was, and still is, the city’s para-transit unit, a small herd of small buses used to transport the physically and mentally handicapped citizenry of our city to and from their respective appointments. There are times, quite often in fact, when I would ride with other passengers; during the time that this story takes place, I was riding with Leroy.

Leroy was mentally challenged, but he was a joy, and he always wore a smile and laughed too loudly. Always. One morning, as I was loading onto the bus, John, the bus-driver, noticed that I had a flat in one of my wheelchair tires. I thanked him and started to figure out how I was going to manage this minor crisis. On the way to work, however, John pulled into a Chevron station and jumped out. It didn’t take me long to figure out what he was doing because he sent the air-hose through the window above me. Then with the eagerness of a child at Christmas, Leroy jumped up from his seat in the front of the van, reached for the hose that John was feeding through the window above me and immediately applied the air hose to my tire. Within seconds the tire exploded, a loud, ear-ringing shattering of silence that frightened both of us almost to death, the blast echoing in our ears, a dull, high-pitched ringing that seemed to liquefy the ear wax that slowly trickled from our Eustachian Tubes. After the initial shock, Leroy busted out laughing, and we heard the story a dozen times or more before I got to work ten minutes later, each time ending with a guffaw as intense as a manatee’s grace.

Of course, once I got to work, the secretary helped me call the Maintenance Department, and they were at my side within minutes. In the interim, I called Gene, the wonderful man who worked on my wheelchair, and he delivered a new inner tube directly to my work area. After considering a few options, the maintenance men decided to borrow a small hydraulic car-lift, jack up the right side of my chair (with me still in it), replace the wheel, pump it up, and have my wheelchair in operational order practically before I could sign-on to my computer. If you work anywhere in corporate America, get to know the men in your maintenance department; they’re always good people.

Good men are good. But even a bad Woman is better.

I found strength in women that just does not exist in men. Whether or not they are conscious of it, all men sense the primeval, fecund puissance that all women, especially older women, possess. Women have so much more power than man that he sometimes tries to deceive her, hovering in a wavy cobra-hooded dance, ignorantly portraying violence over the feminine force that frightens him. I think that it’s this feminine power that makes some men fear the homosexual male. Seeing some of this latent feminine power assumed in a male is impossible for some men to tolerate, so they strike out against it. If latent feminine power in a homosexual man can confuse a myopically misguided misogynistic mind, then the true feminine power must be all that more powerful. For this reason, I tend to find comfort in nesting with the females at work.

I don’t know why, but girls seem to trust me. So much so, that they’ll share with me subjects not ordinarily shared with anybody else who might even look like he could possibly be harboring a Y-chromosome deep within the microcosm of his DNA. One day, one of the girls told me in detail about a recent appointment with her gynecologist. This, to me, doesn’t seem like regular conversation between a man and a woman who are not intimate, but this subject is comparably mild to some of the other subjects women have shared with me.

My most memorable distaff confabulation occurred when three of us sat together at lunch: Angelina, Buffy, and I sat at a table in the break room, which was otherwise empty of people, and both Angelina and Buffy talked about their “trouble births,” their respective pregnancies wherein something went awry and the outcome was perilously uncertain for both mother and child. I just listened... and marveled. Believe me, I had never felt the strength of estrogen before, but these two women put out enough to squash any earthly rebellion. And yes, my eyes teared rather freely at the sheer power of it, and in return, both sets of distaff eyes discharged electrical surges of passionate, life-affirming energy as they solemnly told their respective stories. Each overcoming death to produce another filament for the Web of Life. It was, in a word, incredible . If every woman shared more openly her birth-tales, I can’t imagine a man strong enough to repress her, abuse her, distrust her, abhor her, or even show her the least amount of disrespect.

Although corporate life brought me down a bit (probably because I didn’t deserve the riches I had gathered from its bounty), I tried to remember that my ultimate path was what I did when I got home from work, the hobbies that surviving Corporate America allowed me: singing, writing, or reading. It, Corporate America, also allowed me the wonderful opportunity to act like a fool. Yes, I am an actor, and nowhere else on this planet am I more on stage then when I read to the children of Downtown Elementary, a school that is, quite conveniently, across the street from the campus where I had worked, a school that TSYS adopted as a Partner-In-Education, a school TSYS encouraged its employees to support. Of course, the TSYS campus is built on an impressive five to ten acre plot of riverside land, so it took me ten to fifteen minutes to get to the school by wheelchair... unless, of course, an unexpected thunderstorm quickened.

I read to Ms. Jones’ third grade class, and the children’s wide-eyed innocence was an especial gift that should be bottled and marketed to prevent suicides and War. That much divine power needs to be nurtured... and shared. One of the stories I read was Willie Wonka. If you don’t know the story, Charlie Bucket lives in a dilapidated house with his parents and both sets of grandparents. This means that I got to try to do, at least, seven different voices, which was funny because I’d often mess up, using a Gabby Hayes kind of California Goal-mining crazy-man voice for a line that was spoken by Grandma Josephina. I’d just stop suddenly and say, “Oops! Wrong one. That’s supposed to be grandma’s voice.” This’d get a smile out of the class as well as Ms. Jones. That, my friend, is more priceless than anything imaginable. And I never had to pay a late fee.

Peace Through Music

Questions To Ask Pro-Lifers
Why do you think that your personal philosophies of Life are so infallible that they should be avowed by everyone in our country… your beliefs in Love; social mores; artistic impressions; epicurean idiosyncrasies; carnal sensibilities; child-rearing modi operandi; and your definitions for suicide, euthanasia, murder, gender, lovers, family, marriage (is cunnilingus considered an act of adultery? Fellatio? Anal sex?). Are banks people? Should there be a death penalty?

Young people are just that: young. The connotations are so covetously positive. As one gains life experience, one forgets how to be young. To older people, I earnestly ask, “Do you remember anything about being young and possessing the spirit of the eagle, and you thrilled when your heart sputtered instead of immediately starting to wonder if you were going to die, to meet Elizabeth. Do you remember when you ran until you hyperventilated then, after a few seconds, continued your electric pace in a never-ending cycle until you fell asleep right where you landed? Do you remember the isoelectric energy you felt as a teenager? Do you remember a time when, every now and then, you dreamed of having sex for the first time?”

If you remember the yearning, burning desire to abruptly discharge a thunder-thrusting ejaculatory expulsion of concupiscent largess that made you deliriously dizzy, then you know how young people feel. They have many more freedoms than we when we were their age. We older citizens are in the minority. Contrarily, young people are on the verge of finally wresting away the male-dominated cult of waning bravado that has exploited the planet’s resources, including humans, for millennia and will ultimately usher in an extensive period of peace. Do we honestly believe that young women will allow anybody to take away their rights to choose what they think is best for their own bodies, for their own individual pregnancies, their enceinte expectations? Even if the U.S. Supreme Court declares abortions illegal, these youngsters are jacked up on the corporeal pharmacy that directs their internal vernal intensity… these cats are jacked up on hormones.

Have you read Romeo and Juliet? Young lovers react quite impetuously to matters of the heart. Are you ready to deal with the aftermath of possible horrific impassioned reactions from hearts that still believe that the best years of their lives are before them? And for what? There are computers now that simulate sex. I imagine that with 10 years, maybe sooner, sex will be experienced through computational manipulation. It will be easier, more comfortable, and more enjoyable to them because inanimate sex (which has been around since, at least, Onan, son of Judah) will be their zeitgeist. Reproduction will then be done in the laboratory. Scary, isn’t it? When I was younger, the joke was that a slut was anyone who got more sex than you. Now, every protagonist gets more sex.

The point is that as humans, we are far from infallible. Every one of us has made mistakes, but to base your entire terrestrial manifestation on eliminating one of the many realities that incense your sensibilities while totally disregarding everything else is not only puerile, it is irresponsible. It’s like eradicating Medicare and Medicaid to assure that abortions are illegal, which is what our nation is on the verge of deciding. The question, then, is: do we, as a nation, want to ignore the myriad deaths of the decrepit and infirmed to save fetuses of the poor (the wealthy will easily abort their unwanted pregnancy with impunity by taking 9-month vacations in countries that do not oppose embryonic elimination), or do we create legislation that encourages women to want to give birth by helping her wit resources necessary to raise the child in a nurturing environment. We live in the wealthiest nation this planet has ever known. Why can’t we protect both the young and the old even if it means that a billionaire might have to forfeit a million dollars?

Peace Through Music

Word Origins
Gerrymander
“An official statement of the returns of voters for senators give[s] twenty nine friends of peace, and eleven gerrymanders.” So reported the May 12, 1813, edition of the Massachusetts Spy. A gerrymander sounds like a strange political beast, which in fact it is, considered from a historical perspective. This beast was named by combining the word salamander, “a small lizard-like amphibian,” with the last name of Elbridge Gerry, a former governor of Massachusetts—a state noted for its varied, often colorful political fauna. Gerry (whose name, incidentally, was pronounced with a hard g, though gerrymander is now commonly pronounced with a soft g) was immortalized in this way because an election district created by members of his party in 1812 looked like a salamander. According to one version of how gerrymander was coined, the shape of the district attracted the eye of the painter Gilbert Stuart, who noticed it on a map hanging in a newspaper editor’s office. Stuart decorated the map with a head, wings, and claws and then said to the editor, “That will do for a salamander!” “Gerrymander!” came the reply. A new political beast was created then and there. The word is first recorded in April 1812 with respect to the creature or its caricature, but it soon came to mean not only “the action of shaping a district to gain political advantage” but also “any representative elected from such a district by that method.” Within the same year gerrymander was also recorded as a verb.
Glossary
  • ap·pa·nage also ap·a·nage (²p“…-n¹j) n. 1. A source of revenue, such as land, given by a sovereign for the maintenance of a member of the ruling family. 2. Something extra offered to or claimed by a party as due; a perquisite: The leaders of the opposition party agreed to accept another government's appanages, and in doing so became an officially paid agency of a foreign power. 3. A rightful or customary accompaniment or adjunct. [French apanage, from Old French, from apaner, to make provisions for, possibly from Medieval Latin app³n³re : Latin ad-, ad- + Latin p³nis, bread; see p³- below.]
  • ar·ca·num (är-k³“n…m) n., pl. ar·ca·na (-n…) or ar·ca·nums. 1. A deep secret; a mystery. 2. Often arcana. Specialized knowledge or detail that is mysterious to the average person: “knows the arcana of police procedure and the intricacies of litigation” (George F. Will). 3. A secret essence or remedy; an elixir. [Latin, from neuter of arc³nus, secret. See ARCANE.]
  • cop·ro·la·li·a (k¼p”r…-l³“l¶-…) n. Psychiatry. The uncontrolled, often excessive use of obscene or scatological language that may accompany certain mental disorders, such as schizophrenia or Tourette's syndrome. [copro- + Greek lalia, babbling (from lalein, to talk).]
  • dem·oi·selle (dµm”w…-zµl“) n. 1. A young woman. 2. A demoiselle crane. 3. See damselfly. 4. See damselfish. [French, damsel, from Old French dameisele. See DAMSEL.]
  • ig·ne·ous (¹g“n¶-…s) adj. 1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of fire. 2. Geology. a. Formed by solidification from a molten state. Used of rocks. b. Of or relating to rock so formed; pyrogenic. [From Latin igneus, from ignis, fire.]
  • kak·is·toc·ra·cy (k²k”¹-st¼k“r…-s¶, kä”k¹-) n., pl. kak·is·toc·ra·cies. Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens. [Greek kakistos, worst, superlative of kakos, bad; see CACO- + -cracy.]
  • Mam·mon (m²m“…n) n. 1. Bible. Riches, avarice, and worldly gain personified as a false god in the New Testament. 2. Often mammon. Material wealth regarded as having an evil influence. [Middle English, from Late Latin mammon, from Greek mam½nas, from Aramaic m³m½n³, riches.]
  • op·pro·bri·um (…-pr½“br¶-…m) n. 1. Disgrace arising from exceedingly shameful conduct; ignominy. See Synonyms at disgrace. 2. Scornful reproach or contempt: a term of opprobrium. 3. A cause of shame or disgrace.
  • rap·ine (r²p“¹n) n. Forcible seizure of another's property; plunder. [Middle English, from Old French, from Latin rapºna, from rapere, to seize. See rep- below.]
  • sou·brette (s›-brµt“) n. 1.a. A saucy, coquettish, intriguing maidservant in comedies or comic opera. b. An actress or a singer taking such a part. 2. A young woman regarded as flirtatious or frivolous. [French, from Provençal soubreto, feminine of soubret, conceited, from soubra, to leave aside, from Old Provençal sobrar, to be excessive, from Latin super³re, from super, above. See uper beloWord Origins]
  • 
Bad Joke of the Week

Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool. I gave him a glass of water.
Tweets of the Month
I’ve got to give it to you fathers of daughters out there in tactile reality (represented within the context of this virtual reality). It must be tough to watch the enrapturing innocence of pristine “love and devotion and loyalty and respect and, and admiration…” of your knee-high daughter—watching the beaming eyes of complete joy as she smiles so brightly that accompanying cherubim must don the shades of pseudo-celebrity—watching her uncorrupted smile morph into the countenance of a beautiful woman ready to accept another man into her personal boundaries that suddenly excludes you… watching that once tiny bubble of unconditional love extravasate into the oozing, sobering yet eternal thermal glow of agape. I can only ineffectively imagine that power. Congratulations.
—@SSTJazzVocalist

I find it funny that Trump probably thinks that he’s going to remain married to Melania even if the Mueller investigation clears his name? (Like that’s gong to happen.)
—SSTJazzVocalist

I feel the gut-wrenching frustration of a pubescent soubrette—irrepressibly and incredulously slack-jawed and with her pop eyes a-poppin’, clinch-fisted and ready to explode with Vesuvian intensity—as she watches an attractive young man who amusingly befuddles a small group of toddlers with a magic trick so simple that she irrationally screams “CAN’T YOU MORONIC CHILDREN SEE…” at beaming toddlers who then laugh out loud at the grotesquely contorted physiognomy of the emotionally irrational ingénue’s temporary insanity (“tossing her salad”)… This is how I feel when listening to Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ sequaciously justifying anything Dumpty Trumpty says.
—@SSTJazzVocalist

Trump brags about firing Omorosa four times, thrice on the un-reality show “Apprentice.” Thrice! Which has Stephen Colbert wondering how the usurper of supposition justifies his own mental acuity by re-hiring a “low IQ… dog” three times, the final time to a excessively lucrative high-position low-responsibility job in the White House after praising her with encomium fit for meritorious feats that are impossible for her to enact, legerdemain that does not exist within her overtly limited abilities. Obviously, Omorosa learned how to facilitate her personal path toward unjustified celebrity by shrewdly managing the irrational passion of mass hysteria, but she is much better at it than her mentor, which is the single-most egregious consequence within troglodytic Trump’s very limited mind: his illusory supremacy will ultimately be dispatched by a black woman who is more effectively suasive than he. She is now the master of manipulation, and her comparable adroitness makes Trump look insignificant.
—@SSTJazzVocalist


When I hear coinservatives counter voter suppression, gerrymandering, sexual misconduct, the separation of children from their mothers, and global warning with “…but the economy is thriving,” it reminds me of the German’s who looked beyond the Holocaust to focus on the fact that Hitler improved their economy… and was responsible for the Volkswagen. Fahrvergnügen.
—@SSTJazzVocalist


How can a Trump-supporter promulgate Donald J Trump’s megalomania, his ridiculous belief in his own infallibility, his cartoonish braggadocio? How can any empathetic person follow such an incompetent buffoon? Basically, they idolize and deify a man who is unequivocally unqualified to do practically anything; they dote on his gilded façade while totally ignoring the excessive aggregate of overt evidence that chronicle his lack of acumen, economic status, and human decency, but when a woman, a person of color, a handicapped person, or any other minority demonstrates any self-determination, they are reproached as trying to play the system created by the detractors but not in concordance with the rules the ruthless adopted that facilitate their paths of success while retarding similar opportunities to people they categorize as undeserving.
—@SSTJazzVocalist
Groovy Upcoming Events
  • Saturday, September 3 pm starting at 3 pm ET at the amazing RiverCenter in historic down Columbus, Georgia the U.S. Navy Band Country Current will be playing. The United States Navy Band Country Current is the Navy’s premier country-bluegrass ensemble. The group is nationally renowned for its versatility and “eye-popping” musicianship, performing a blend of modern country music and cutting-edge bluegrass. This seven-member ensemble employs musicians from diverse backgrounds with extensive high-profile recording and touring experience in the music scenes of Nashville, Tenn., New York, New Orleans and more. In the tradition of country music, each member is a skilled performer on multiple instruments. The band utilizes banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, fiddle, electric bass, upright bass, dobro, pedal steel guitar and drum set. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Thursday, September 6th starting at 8 pm ET, Michael Feinsteinwill perform at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta, GA. According to All About Jazz: "Michael Feinstein was born in Columbus, OH, and developed an interest in the piano and in show music at an early age. After moving with his family to Los Angeles in 1976, he met Oscar Levant's widow, who in turn introduced him to Ira Gershwin. He was hired by Gershwin in 1977 to help organize The Gershwin archives, and continued to work with the lyricist until Gershwin's death in 1983." Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Saturday, September 8, for two shows at 7 and 10 pm ET at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta, GA, Rebirth Brass Band is playing. "The Rebirth Brass Band rose from the streets of New Orleans to international renown with a mix of the brass-band tradition and a refreshingly modern sensibility. The Rebirth Brass Band mastered the traditional jazz sound of their hometown and then melded it with funk, R&B and, most recently, hip-hop, they are as capable with spirituals and rags as it is with brass-band boogie." Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Monday, October 8 starting at 7:30 pm ET at the amazing RiverCenter in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia, the Winford Marsalis Quartet will be playing. According to the venue's website: "NEA Jazz Master, renowned Grammy Award®‐winning saxophonist and Tony Award® nominee Branford Marsalis is one of the most revered instrumentalists of his time. Leader of one of the finest jazz quartets today, and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Marsalis’ most current recording with his quartet is Four MFs Playin’ Tunes. On this album, the song takes center stage, with the band members bringing their considerable musical expertise to bear, as they focus on each tune as an important musical entity unto itself and not merely a vehicle for showcasing individual talent. Charles Gans from the Associated Press exclaims, “Saxophonist Marsalis leads one of the most cohesive, intense small jazz ensembles on the scene today…. This album shows that Marsalis’ quartet hasn’t skipped a beat with the change in the drummer’s chair, effortlessly playing often complex original tunes that are thoroughly modern while referencing past jazz masters.” The Branford Marsalis Quartet is one of the most innovative and forward‐thinking jazz ensembles around today!" Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Monday, October 29th starting at 7:30 pm ET at the amazing RiverCenter in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia, the U.S. Navy Band Commodores Jazz Ensemble will be playing. The U.S. Navy Band Commodores, the Navy’s premier jazz ensemble, celebrate their upcoming 50th anniversary serving the Navy and the nation through America’s quintessential art form: jazz. Under the direction of Senior Chief Musician William C. Mulligan, the U.S. Navy Band Commodores’ 2018 national tour highlights the legacy of innovation in Navy Music from John Coltrane, Artie Shaw, and Clark Terry to the world-class composers, arrangers and performers the comprise the unit in the present day. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Saturday, December 15th starting at 7:30 pm ET at the amazing RiverCenter in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia, the MCoE Holiday Concert will be presented. For over 50 years, the Maneuver Center of Excellence Band has taken great pride in entertaining the soldiers, military families, and civilians of the Fort Benning, Columbus, and Phenix City communities. The Band’s performances create esprit de corps among soldiers and veterans, as well as provide patriotic spirit within the civilian community. Currently, the MCoE Band, with its eight performing groups, accomplishes over 500 military missions a year in support of the military and civilian communities in and around Fort Benning. Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Monday, December 17th starting at 7:30 pm at the amazing RiverCenter in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas will be in town. I know it ain't jazz, but I really dig Chip Davis' musical prowess. According to the venue's website: "Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis has been America’s favorite holiday tradition for over 30 years! Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a show that features Mannheim Steamroller Christmas classics along with a selection of compositions from Chip’s groundbreaking Fresh Aire series, which introduced the distinctive Mannheim sound to all of America. Experience the magic as the spirit of the season comes alive with dazzling multimedia effects and the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller!" Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Saturday, January 19, 2019 starting at 7:30 pm ET at the amazing RiverCenter in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia, Kenny Brawner will channel the spirit of Ray Charles. According to the venue's website: "This concert/theatre work brings the music and the story of the great Ray Charles to vivid life! Portraying Ray, master pianist/vocalist Kenny Brawner leads his 12-piece orchestra and three sultry vocalists (a la the Raelettes) performing this American legend’s most popular hits: “What’d I Say?,” “I Got a Woman,” “Mess Around,” “Georgia On My Mind,” a blazing hot duet on “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” and many more! The music is interwoven with monologues depicting how gospel, blues, jazz and country influenced Ray’s style, while also reflecting on American social history, his epic battle with drugs, and his triumphant return home to Georgia." Fo' mo' info, click here.
  • Saturday, May 18th starting at 7:30 pm ET at the amazing RiverCenter in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia, Cantus Columbus will perform Say It With Music: The Songs of Irving Berlin. From the venue's website: "In this fourth concert homage to the founders of the American Songbook, the professional chorus Cantus Columbus and the distinguished string quartet Vega Quartet, directed by William J. Bullock, present tasteful arrangements of the songs of Irving Berlin (1888–1989). The concert follows previous collaborative tributes to Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, George & Ira Gershwin, and Jerome Kern." Fo' mo' info, click here.

A Little Lunch Music
Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts
Auburn, Alabama

On Thursdays at Noon, make a lunch date with the finest musicians from our region and beyond. A Little Lunch Music is an informal, come-and-go performance presented by JCSM and coordinated by Patrick McCurry. It features national and international performers as well as professionals and students from Auburn University and the surrounding areas. You can sit in and listen to the entire performance, dine in the Museum Cafe from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., browse the Museum Shop, or explore the galleries.

* * *

  • Thursday, August 23 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features Boyun Kim. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. On Thursday, August 23, from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Grand Gallery, the series will present a free concert by gayageum player Boyun Kim. The gayageum is a traditional Korean stringed instrument. The program will feature music by Byeong-ho Kim, Seong-cheon Lee, Yu-dong Ko, Geon-yong Lee as well as traditional and popular music from Korea, France, and the US. A gift from Friends of the Series has helped to make this performance possible.
  • Thursday, August 30 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features pianist Mary Staton. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. Pianist Mary Slaton will perform August 30. Her specialty is playing lush arrangements of standards and popular songs from most of the 20th century.
  • Thursday, September 13 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features pianist Vadim Serebryany. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. Pianist Vadim Serebryany, on the music faculty at Ithaca College in New York and formerly with Huntingdon College, will return to the series to perform on September 13. He will perform music from the canon of classical piano repertoire. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance.
  • Thursday, September 27 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features pianist David Bottoms. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance. On September 27, David Bottoms, a pianist, composer, and investment manager, will perform a tribute to the victims of 9/11. He performs the memorial program annually on September 11 for Bargemusic, a concert series in a renovated 1899 coffee barge just under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.
  • Thursday, October 4 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features a showcase. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. On October 4, the series will become part of Showcase, the Work of Creative Scholarship. Elizabeth Benson is on the school's Department of Theatre faculty, and will present a lecture-recital of songs by Tom Cipullo. Benson will share the program with Alyssa Ross, who is faculty in the Department of English. Ross will do a poetry reading, "Women of The Harvard Observatory." Showcase: The Work of Creative Scholarship celebrates the very best creative work of Auburn University faculty and students in the fields of fine art, applied art and design, performing arts, creative writing and other related disciplines. The exhibition is on view Sept. 28 through Oct. 14.
  • Thursday, October 11 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features saxophonist Michael Pendowski. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. Auburn saxophone professor Michael Pendowski will lead a chamber music performance on October 11. His program is titled, "Jazz Influences in Classical Saxophone Music," and will involve guest artist J. P. Pendowski on piano and Auburn faculty violinist Guy Harrison. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance.
  • Thursday, October 18 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features Auburn Indian Music Ensemble. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. A regular installment of the series, the Auburn Indian Music Ensemble will return on October 18. The group is led by Chaitra Gururaj and combines community and student musicians as well as non-musicians, learning traditional music of India and performing on authentic Indian instruments. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance.
  • Thursday, October 25 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features KKR Trio. William Ransom directs the piano program at Emory University. He has appeared on the series before, and returns on October 28 with the KKR Trio to perform Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 97, or “Archduke Trio.” He will be joined by violinist Helen Kim and cellist Charae Krueger.
  • Thursday, November 1 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features guest vocalists. Experience captivating live music and inspiring performances in the context of the museum's collection and exhibitions. The auditorium and iconic grand gallery provide settings for an extensive array of national and international performers as well as the region's professionals and students. On November 1, visiting faculty from Mississippi State University will perform a program of vocal music. Guest artists will be soprano Jeannette Fontaine, soprano Roza Tulyaganova, and pianist Christy Lee. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance.
  • Thursday, November 8 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Night Music features Samford University's String Quartet. The Samford University String Quartet, members of the school’s music faculty, will perform an eclectic program of traditional repertoire and new music on November 8. A Little Lunch Music is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to enjoy lunch in the Museum Café before or after the performance.
  • Thursday, November 15 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features Brazilian concert pianist Alessandra Feris performing a program of Latin American music.
  • Thursday, November 29 from noon 'til one pm CT, A Little Lunch Music features a mixed recital. On November 29, recent Auburn University graduates, soprano Jin Lee and pianist Christian McGee, will join saxophonist and Auburn University senior Nikolai Klotchkov for a mixed recital. All have performed for the series in recent years.
  • Thursday, December 6 from noon 'til one pm, A Little Lunch Music features flutist Stephanie Payne. On November 29, recent Auburn University graduates, soprano Jin Lee and pianist Christian McGee, will join saxophonist and Auburn University senior Nikolai Klotchkov for a mixed recital. All have performed for the series in recent years.

Fo' mo' info on A Little Lunch Music, click here .

Autobiographical Stories

Misguided Charity
by Russell (Rusty) Allen Taylor

I spent sixteen years as an indentured servant in the unenviable, specious grip of corporate disinterest. I was paid well to sit on my ever expanding ass to program a computer. When I was first hired, I went through an extensive training program. The first three months covered programming theory and was taught by the pedagogy at Columbus College before it became Columbus State University (in the great state of Georgia). The remaining six months of training were completed at One Arsenal Place, a historic building formerly part of a mills operation that accessed the nearby Chattahoochee River, geometrically simple, Pythagorean influenced. The architectural wings are even now separated by a courtyard inside which flows a sparkling waterfall beside which myriad colorful flora display neon-influenced brilliance. The training rooms were in the north wing. The opposite wing was used by Blue Cross Blue Shield, the US Bankruptcy Court, and other places of business.

One day in late spring, I went outside to take a much needed sanity break from the doldrums of learning IBM mainframe Assembler programming. The flowers were in bloom, and it was a pretty warm day, so I went to the other side of the courtyard where there was some shade, just beside the entrance to Blue Cross Blue Shield. I found a spot and was sitting with my eyes closed, absorbing the warm ambiance by which I was surrounded, when an older woman came out through the door beside me and greeted me quite soberly but with a distraction that haunted my being like when my great-grandmother sat with her marble-blue eyes hazed in a stare denoting that she must have been silently conversing with Death. The woman who had just encountered my presence looked straight at me with her black, feckless, unblinking eyes and asked me, “Are you crippled?”

I’m not all that bright in the first place, but the question took me so much by surprise that I became even more paralyzed. It was a paralysis that I couldn’t differentiate from my quadriplegia except that this paralysis momentarily affected my speech. I looked down at my thighs that ran parallel to the ground reaching out to my kneecaps then sharply dropping out of my line of sight towards the footrests that were supporting my feet; I was trying to draw attention to the wheelchair itself when I looked up, stupefied, I’m sure, and barely, audibly said, “Yes’m.”

I am totally paralyzed, but even that part of me that had remained of my pathetic physicality, namely my verbal prowess, completely abandoned me when the woman’s words effusively spewed from her mouth, this older woman who I’m sure meant well but who unwittingly belched out an awkward question, better left unasked, to someone who would ultimately record it for a literary audience. My tormented brain was rushing with swollen passion and illimitable responses. But, alas, I was dumbstruck. Silent. Immobile. Silently immobile. Dumbstruck. Did I already say that? Where am I?

The woman closed up her purse, pushed the purse’s strap to the crook of her acutely bent, bony elbow, and said rather indignantly, “I’m not going to give you any money!”

I still could say nothing.

She fumbled again with her purse until she finally, frenetically, retrieved a business card and tried to hand it to me. I lifted my dead, contracted hands toward hers, and when she noticed that they, too, were inoperable, she shoved the card back into its secret chamber alongside, I can only guess, a copy of her name over which she must periodically peruse to help remind herself of her own identity, but she never missed a beat. Immediately she told me her name, but when I tried to tell her mine, as courtesy bade me, she told me that she was a Pentecostal minister and concluded, “I won’t give you any money... but I’ll pray for you.”

I naturally assumed that she was ready to take her leave—that she’d pray for me in her leisure time, if she remembered, and I was about to thank her when, with the celerity of a junkie’s spastic reach for the source of its addiction, she spread her palm across the back of my head, pushed it down into a sequaciously quasi-religious bow. She then lowered her head in reverence to whatever spirit she worshiped then mumbled what I must assume were prayers... or maybe she was arguing with herself about the weather. Again, I closed my eyes and was thinking about how absurd it was to be humoring this weird woman when I realized that the pressure she applied to the back of my head with her hand had disappeared. I looked up and saw her scurrying away, smaller and more fragile than when I had first seen her, almost like an insect’s trekking its way across a barren, boundless field.

Naturally, I did what anybody else would’ve done had she just been prayed over by an entity that was either purely magical... or insane. Not passing up any opportunity, I tried desperately to get up out of my wheelchair, but my body remained immobile.

“Your prayers didn’t work!” I yelled to the insect woman (probably a Praying Mantis). But she was already long gone.

Peace Through Music


Peace and Love
It's A Quad Thing...
You Might Not Understand
Here I am, the 54-year old man with emphasis on old and connotations of the glistening, glabrous, edentulous geezer yelling at young people to get off my lawn all the while knowing that the lawn ain’t mine and that the planet will be extant long after my species kills itself or evolves closer to its evolutionary potential; I am a charlatan jester, a fake faker; I am a scant microsecond times ten to the negative zillionth in the calendar of Infinity. But am I worthless?

I’ve been a quadriplegic for thirty-two years. I have smoked expectations by living as long as I have... by a long shot. I imagine that, in most people’s eyes, my life as a quad has been an ominous and arduous, sisyphean struggle through a barren landscape delineated in subtle shades of grey from white to black with emphasis on fuliginous asheness. It hasn’t, but am I worthless?

I have survived, twice, anomalous circumstances wherein the outcome of my terrestrial manifestation was dubious, and although I have done nothing to justify such celestial largess, am I worthless?

Few can understand what it’s like to completely depend on anybody else simply to stay alive. You, dear reader, may never feel the guilt of having to ask someone to stick a finger up your ass to help you eliminate fecal waste from your body. You may never know the shame of having to excuse yourself because you’ve soiled your pants in a wheelchair then have to phone for assistance to clean up all the ensuing shit that follows. You may never feel the burning shame—that sweeps across your face like the current tornadic firestorms in California—after a female friend screams her vitriolic disdain at a waiter in a crowded restaurant after he errantly thinks that you, a decrepit cripple, and she were a couple—she, a former debutante with green-eyes, blonde hair, and vestigial traces of a time, not too long ago, when she was drop-dead gorgeous. You may not feel the burning rage of fury after a co-worker calls you lucky because you are paralyzed and don’t ever have to be on-call, but am I worthless?

Again, I have done nothing to justify my surviving thirty-two years after I broke my neck, and I’ve done nothing to justify surviving renal sepsis last summer. But am I worthless? Have I done anything to continue to live? These are questions I ask myself every morning when I’ve discovered that I did not wake up dead. What have I done to deserve my additional life?

I suppose that everyone questions her own worth if she lives long enough. The more life experience that I gain, the more I venerate them who die young. They never questioned their worth; they were young and eager to die, to pass through the terrene barricade with eyes wide open and eager to face the challenge of the next level and everything that the inevitable ethereal adventure entails. They never pondered Hamlet’s most urgent challenge: to be or not.

When my final suspiration evanesces beyond the atmosphere, the only hope I may have to justify my life is that I will have, ultimately, and hopefully, added to the collective positive energy of the Universe instead of to its negative alternative. I reckon we all can justify our lives; it is what we, as human beings, do really well regardless of race or gender. The question then becomes, at least it does for me, when will my absorbing from the composite positive energy overcome the surplus I may have created in my youth? It’s obvious that I have not inspired many terrestrial citizens, but have I negatively manipulated more than I’ve inspired? That is the question, and one I will wrestle with until I break on through to the other side.

I suppose that I will also be judged by how I treated other people. Do a majority of people I’ve met have a positive or negative view of me? For the most part, I’ve treated most everybody with respect. I have gone past the line of decency a few times, but that has been mostly the result of my not believing that anybody could find anything positive to say about a political party that has employed the Southern Strategy to exploit fear and hatred as a way to access the power to worship money. Most of the people who think negatively of me have no idea what humility is. I believe that we, as a species, should be more empathetic to everyone who may be experiencing a bit of temporal negativity.

Incidentally, this is why I am against running the government as a business. I want my life to be judged by the controller of the Universe, not to be decided by a group of ludicrously rich people who want to eradicate Medicare and Medicaid so that they can purchase ten yachts while I may have to choose a nursing home in Colorado where I can get botanical pharmaceuticals that are the most effective anodyne against the aggressive spasms that currently rock my sanity.

My life is a microcosmic metaphor for the existential question of our contemporary epoch: Do we, as global citizens, want a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” or do we want to be a nation full of shiny trinkets sans the wisdom, history, and tradition that can only be garnered through the preservation of antiquity, i.e. do we embrace the exclusive excitement of youth at the cost of a more cerebrally stimulating maturity that gains beauty through the appreciation of patina? I, personally, feel that we need both. Why should I be judged by Donald Trump and his ilk's mocking of women who don’t meet an impossible aesthetic standard? Why should I be judged by them who mock the handicapped? When I was a carefree lad—just yesterday—I thought that the young whale looked elegant; I now envy every blemish of the old whale, each grey barnacle that has attached itself the aquatic mammal’s blue skin, each blemish, each “badge of courage” she proudly displays indicating each battle she’s overcome. It’s like the difference between the temporal and thereby highly valued pulchritude of a goddess-like Navy Seal warrior and the dignified beauty of a retired general standing at attention and saluting the flag in full ornamental regalia.


Peace Through Music

Post Script - Keep in mind that this monthly e-rag is, quite possibly, fictitious. The question then becomes one of perception. Can the events as detailed in this newsletter unfold as written? If so, can we, as a nation, let it happen? Can we, as a nation, so callously reject certain lifestyles because they don't fit an aesthetic? Can we discard the crippled? the retarded? the poor? The answer may be “yes” if we simply modify the epthets and collectively call them the “untouchables.”

My personal fate is hinged on how our nation votes this fall. If Medicare and Medicaid are privitized, my death sentence is indisputable. According to accepted business practices, my body will be downsized; unfortunately, my mind will be eliminated by the resulting fallout.

Poetry
To An Athlete Dying Young
by A.E. Housman


The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.


Today, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears.

Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.

So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.

And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.
I Need Your Help… Your Advice
Forgive the excessive length of this particular exposition, but I am smack dab in the middle of a conundrum that directly affects my personal microcosm, and I really shouldn’t make the decision singularly because my personal lifestyle is threatened, and I believe there is no way I can be objective. I am at my personal Event Horizon. Will I be able to direct my spacecraft away from my Black Hole adversary or will I be drawn in towards the singularity of my unalterable fatalistic implosion?

event horizon (noun) : In layman's terms, it is defined as the shell of "points of no return", i.e., the boundary at which the gravitational pull of a massive object becomes so great as to make escape impossible. An event horizon is most commonly associated with black holes. Light emitted from inside the event horizon can never reach the outside observer.

The main theme of this essay is the rhetorical exploration and investigation into whether or not I should be deigned by the community an opportunity to pursue my seemingly ridiculous dream of public singing or should I sacrifice egocentric ambition for the pragmatic acquiescence of spending the rest of my life within the restrictive confines of a nursing home. The main sticking point in this contemplation is the looming acknowledgement that I have only between five and ten years remaining before my mental and physical salubrity evolve toward a state of stagnantly inert uniformity. I am currently experiencing a set of Machiavellian circumstances that challenge family and friends; I will soon discover if anybody finds me a source of positive energy… and it is a bit unnerving.

Oddly enough, I’ve survived a couple nearly fatal contingencies, contretemps that have challenged people who love me and the people who do not (and I am not referring to emotional outcries against my proclivity to speak out against customary social practices that I feel contradict the peaceful and harmonic mien of urbane civility.) I’ve knocked on Death’s door a couple times but was not allowed passage into my post-terrestrial manifestation for reasons beyond my scope. It was during these times that many of my family and friends selflessly shared so much positive emotional support that I felt obligated to attempt paths of action other atrophied people wouldn’t, and these attempts seem to have inspired a few… but to what extent? My needs now are financial… and that may change everything.

I am currently experiencing a set of circumstances for which I may, very quickly, have to file for bankruptcy. Long story short: I sold all my stocks, sold my 401K plan, and took out a loan in an attempt to help my brother build a really large house that is supposed to be the final residence for my brother and his wife (who raised five wonderful sons who visit often), my brother’s (and my) aging parents, my brother’s wife’s aging parents, and a large basement that is to be my accessible apartment with enough room to house an attendant to assist me with acts of daily living. It’s to be a unifying family structure filled with generations of familial lore. Unfortunately, we’ve run into anomalies stemming from the fact that we hired a con contractor who bit off more than he could chew, a nice enough man who is not responsible enough to admit his ignorance and who is hardly worthy of suing because he has nothing but a waning reputation. Besides, suing just ain’t in my family’s nature. (I was told by more than one lawyer that I could have sued the major corporation—that hired me for sixteen year—for my wrongful dismissal, but that would have messed up my Karma… besides, I just ain’t into money; it doesn’t seem to make people happy. Ask Richard Cory.)

I think that I should mention that my brother is my hero. He’s a reservist in the U.S. Army and is a vet of the Iraqi War, a man who saw time in the desert surrounded by nefarious hostility against his corporeality, but the hat that fits most snuggly on his head is one of a family man—a husband, a father, and a brother. He was also hit by a really large utility vehicle while he was jogging during his lunch break in an effort to remain a physically viable asset to his mission as a reservists… a Cadillac Escalade, I believe, that threw him yards away from the initial contact and totally destroyed his patella more effectively than Tonya Harding’s shattering Nancy Kerrigan’s Olympian dreams with a crowbar. He is now fighting with VA to help alleviate the financial strain of a total knee replacement, money that’s been siphoned from the building fund. My brother (a state champion wrestler in high school) is in no shape, physically, to take care of my needs. My sister shouldn’t have to sacrifice her personal freedoms to take care of me. So where does that leave me?

I, personally, am unfamiliar with economics; its superfluous and temporal nature precludes my learning about it in anything but a cursory way. Instead, I focus on trying to live in the moment, to try not to anticipate the future, especially when future prospects look formidable.

All I know is that, ultimately, my brother will build this house. Although he is unable to effectively articulate it, my brother is the smartest person I know; unfortunately, I have made a few imprudent decisions for which I have convinced myself that I will declare bankruptcy, temporarily move into a nursing home in a state where medicinal marijuana will effectively ameliorate my intense spasms without detrimental effects on my liver or pancreas, a temporary respite wherein I will entrust my well-being to complete strangers who, generally, have really large hearts. I will set aside my singing, but, hopefully, I’ll be able to continue writing… it doesn’t seem too ridiculous to imagine that I will be able to access a computer to continue my writing.

What saddens me most zealously is that after twenty-six years of singing jazz, I am finally finding my voice. For the past month or so, I’ve noticed that my singing has become stronger and more emotive. I’ve attributed this gift of a greater lung capacity as the direct result of the public singing I do, which is physical therapy that has improved my overall health.

Many of you know that I almost died last year. I know… I am not the only one; in fact, there’s a fellow musician who often joins our weekly jazz jam in Opelika, and he, too, almost died. He told me last week that his doctor encourages playing music as a very effective form of therapy. I recently sang at Carriage and Horses restaurant in Pine Mountain, Georgia and have the confidence to look into other similar opportunities because it went over really well. I have a few fans who have recently noticed the more emotive expressiveness of my vocal timbre and have panegyrized my singing… Of course, this may also be my swan song, which seriously emphasizes the temporal nature of our sublunar existence. The question now is what to do. Regardless, I am at the mercy of… well, of everything .

Either I will go to a nursing home, hopefully temporarily, until my brother finishes the house or the house will be built and I will then continue to be a spiritual and physical burden on my family. If I go to a nursing home, I will have to forego my singing… I can’t imagine a scenario in which a nursing home would pay to have someone chaperone my participation in local jazz jams or even allowing me the opportunity to sing in a restaurant during evening hours, and that saddens me. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I really dig crooning like Johnny Hartman or Bing Crosby.

What disheartens me most is that I think back on the many challenges I’ve had in life, and (please forgive me for braggin’, but…) I’ve done pretty well. Of course, I’ve had tremendous support from family and friends that would have made it a sin against humanity had I tried nothing to overcome total paralysis. I became a full-time employee of corporate America before its bottom line outweighed any feel good communal obligations associated with a major international corporation’s hiring a “physically challenged” American boy.

After I was fired, I became a jazz vocalist, but it wasn’t overnight. Jazz is a very formidable challenge. As previously delineated, I have recently found my jazz voice… after twenty-six years! I have finally found my voice, and it is now threatened. Juxtaposed against our nation’s current embracing of a national leader who, had he faced quadriplegia at the age of twenty-two, would have at least had a better excuse than foot spurs to dodge his military induction; my meager efforts seem Herculean.

So this is where I am. I am at the most significant crossroads of my life, a dichotomous bifurcation, and I must choose which path to traverse towards my life’s conclusion. I can slowly slither through the cracks of indifference or I can choose to not go gentle into that good night. My question to you, my dear reader, is if you think I am worthy enough to request a crowd-funding enterprise. My singing has garnered me a few fans who really enjoy it, but is this enough to request financial assistance when there are other people who suffer adversities that are much more urgent? Again, I cannot make that choice. Am I worthy of asking for financial support via crowd-funding? Am I worthy of asking for financial resources to pay for attendant care that would afford me the opportunity to sing in public? Resources that would allow me to write my monthly newsletter? To tell really bad jokes on stage? I need your input. Will you please send me your comments, even if it is to tell me how selfish I am to make such a request when citizens of Puerto Rico still have no electricity over a year after Hurricane Maria destroyed their island… or when wildfires are ravaging California, Sweden, and Greece.

Peace Through Music

Make Concert Stages Accessible

Peace and Love
The next time you go see a live musical group, check out the stage. Does it have a wheelchair ramp leading from the audience to the stage or are their steps? Is there a wheelchair ramp backstage? Is there handicapped parking where the performers load and unload? Chances are that the venue doesn’t provide these accommodations. It’s like this: my biggest challenge as a quadriplegic jazz vocalist is finding accessible stages on which to perform. I was once raised up to a five-foot high stage using a forklift and a wooden palette because the stage was not wheelchair accessible. Fortunately, I didn’t die. Point is that there are
few wheelchair accessible stages; otherwise, I’d sing much more often.

It’s easy to see why this isn’t a mainstream problem: there are few “physically challenged” performers, but that’s merely an excuse encouraged by indifference. We handicapped performers exist and are eager to share our dreams with fans who dig what we do. But why are we unconsciously ignored? That’s easy: Being unable to perform even the most rudimentary acts of daily living is a major downer; the wheelchair, quite frankly, is a symbol of lost hope. Let’s face it; it’s a marketing problem, and this is where you come in to save the day.

Physical handicaps are wrapped in lugubrious imagery, but not every moment of life in a wheelchair is steeped in mournful decay. Believe it or not, I laugh every day… some days more than others, but if life were perfect, I, for one, would take a bite of forbidden fruit to find some excitement from the decay of entropy (the hypothetical tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity). What I’m trying so desperately to connote here is the fact that having a physical challenge can, at times, be fun and inspirational. What we need is positive imagery, and here’s where I ask for a favor from you, dear reader, and it has to do with social media, more specifically, using the ubiquitous #hashtag: will you help by coming up with a #hashtag meme that has positive connotations for the handicapped and send it to me. This could be fun. Maybe I can come up with prizes for creative contributions. Regardless, this could be the beginning of a social movement that witnesses an outcry of creative energy by talented people who have difficulty overcoming the obstacles that are hidden from people who can hop out of bed running full tilt. By the way, I’ve come up with a possible #hashtag meme that might work: #FantastAbility. What do you think?

The gauntlet has been dropped. Do you accept the challenge? Please reply to this email with as many suggestions as you want, and challenge your friends as well. Let’s see if we can extend this conversation internationally. (Actually, when you send in your suggestions, include the name of your hometown city. We’ll see how far this request goes.) Let’s make the wheelchair a symbol of fun… or grace… or intelligence… or, dare I say it? Let’s make the wheelchair Sexy!

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Jazz Etiquette 

There are few absolutes in life, but this is a definite one: do not stand in front of the bandstand playing air guitar, air trumpet, air bass, or air drums. This activity irritates the musicians. It is disrespectful to both musicians and fellow listeners. It also makes the air player look like... well, there's really no need to spell this one out. Please, save those air moves for the National Air Guitar Championships held annually in Las Vegas.

In today’s society, texting is as ubiquitous as sunshine is to day. Please, do not text while watching live jazz; if you're not into the performance, leave. Along the same line, turn off the cell phone. If you are so important that you cannot miss calls, perhaps you - and everyone else in the audience – would be better served if you did not go to hear live music. If you'd get upset watching somebody else do it then it's wrong for you, too.

Try not to get up and walk out in the middle of a song. It is rude, akin to walking away from someone who is speaking directly to you. Likewise, please refrain from talking during the music. No one came out to hear about your day. More often than not, other audience members came to hear the music.

Most jazz musicians and seasoned listeners will agree that it is acceptable to clap after the solos that each musician takes. However, it is a good idea to keep this applause to an enthusiastic minimum because the next musician usually has already well begun her solo. By the time the claps and cheers fade, the audience has missed a good section of the next solo. Be a good listener. Learn to notice the interaction amongst musicians on stage. An understanding of their communication with each other will help novice listeners, and those not familiar with the song, to learn when the song has ended. Clap, cheer, whistle, or shout, after the last notes of the song are played, not during.

The most important rule of etiquette when it comes to live jazz deals with the type of common sense your grandmother believes you possess: be respectful. Other than that, have fun. Jazz is inclusive and strongly embraces peaceful harmony. It is the type of music that demands active listening to maximize the musical experience to its most positive conclusion. If you have an uncontrollable urge to get aggressively plastered, go listen to a more kitsch musical performance. Hardly anyone there will notice.

Peace Through Music

Interesting Blogs and Websites by Interesting People

  • A Blog by Dallas Smith
  • A Blog by Susan E. Mazer
  • Collaborating since 1984, Susan E. Mazer and Dallas Smith create some of the finest contemporary instrumental music available. Our compositions for harp and woodwinds merge the aesthetics of jazz, classical, and world music into an experience that feeds both the intellect and spirit. Extending beyond the boundaries of genre, our unique sound has a richness in melody, rhythm and sonority. Visit their website by clicking here.
  • Now available in more than 750 healthcare facilities in the U.S. and Asia, The C.A.R.E. Channel’s stunning nature video and original instrumental music provide a therapeutic tool for use at the patient bedside, waiting areas, and public spaces in acute care hospitals, residential care facilities, hospice/palliative care units, cancer centers, children’s hospitals, and rehabilitation centers.
  • The Rude Pundit - Proudly lowering the level of political discourse.
  • Randy Hoexter is a jazz pianist, composer and educator living in Atlanta. He is currently the Director of Education at the Atlanta Institute of Music. His recent release, “Fromage” Featuring bassist Jimmy Haslip, Drummer Dave Weckl, and the finest of Atlanta jazz musicians has been receiving rave reviews. His previous recording “Radiant” with Mike Stern, Dave Weckl and more, also received critical acclaim.
  • Jimmy Haslip  World-renowned bassist
  • Sam Skelton  Saxophone/woodwind virtuoso and educator
  • Trey Wright  Gifted guitarist and composer
  • Kit Chatham  Brilliant percussionist and drummer
  • Carl Culpepper Virtuoso guitarist and educator
  • Jazz Evangelist Great jazz blog and reviews.
  • Wonderful freelance writer Candice Dyer.
Weekly Area Jazz Jams
Eighth and Rail
Every Tuesday 7 - 10 pm CT
The Eighth and Rail in historical downtown Opelika, Alabama is the venue for a wildly groovy weekly jazz jam as hosted by the Jane Drake Jazz Band. It's a cozy celebration of life that has become a buzzing collection of jazz-loving fanatics gathered together in a coterie of peaceful, fun-loving positive energy. I am downright proud as a peacock with enhanced LED-flashing feathers to participate in the jam on a regular basis, and I really love it! Proprietor Mike Patterson makes the wonderful sushi and Miss Tiffany keeps the affable atmosphere at a lovely level of emotive satisfaction. Plus... they serve an awesome cheesecake that'll make you wanna slap yourself so hard as to tell horrific knock-knock jokes to mimes. No lie. We have really talented musicians come in from the bi-state area: Auburn, Montgomery, Tuskegee, Columbus, LaGrange, Fort Valley, et al. The jam begins at 7 pm and ends at 10 pm CT. Hopefully, I'll see you there.

Eighth and Rail
Venkman's Jazz Jam
Every Tuesday starting at 8 pm ET
Venkman's is a nightclub in Atlanta , a venue that Joe Gransden uses for his weekly jazz jam. This is where the Who's Who of the Atlanta Jazz Scene come together to dazzle us mortals. It's free and starts at 8 pm ET. Fo' mo' info, click link below. I've participated in this jam a couple of times, and I love it as well. Joe Gransden always welcomes me with a smile that will melt antarctic glaciers in the middle of winter, which, oddly enough, is during June through August... when it's so hot and humid in middle Georgia that my toenails sweat. Nevertheless, Joe's band often includes keyboardist Kenny Banks (sometimes Kevin Bales), drummer Chris Burroughs and bassist Craig Shaw, and these cats kick it. When I find the transportation, I'm going.

Red Light Cafe Jazz Jam
Every Wed at 8 pm ET

I have not been to the weekly jazz jam at Red Light Cafe, but it is hosted by the Gordon Vernick Quartet, and I am a huge fan of Gordon's, so I'm planning to go soon, and when I do... Ha! I'm very likely to get excited. Fo' mo' info, click here .
Apache Cafe in Atlanta
Every Wed at 9:00 ET
Al Smith's Midtown Jam Session @Apache Cafe!  Contemporary Jazz , Soul, R&B vocalists jam Session. Featuring live band led by keyboardist Al Smith! Vocalists are invited to sign the list and jam with the band, musicians can sit in too... a must attend! Different Dj spinning on the back patio each week! SPECIAL GUEST HOST EVERY WEEK! Doors open at 9pm and list-sign up is at 9pm. Event admission, the day of, at the door, is CASH. Fo' mo' info, click here .
Brin's Wings in Montgomery
Every Wed from 6 to 9:00 CT

Brins Wings in Montgomery presents Coleman Woodson Jr. Jazz Jam from 6-9 CDT. No cover. Fo' mo' info, click here .
La Salle Bleu Piano Bar in Montgomery
Every Wed from 6 to 9:00 CT
Jazz jam La Salle Bleu Piano Bar, 9 until, no cover. Fo' mo' info, click here .
The Suite in Columbus, GA
Every Thursday at 9:00-11:30 ET
Thursday, January 11 from 9-11:30 p, EDT Live Jazz - Big Saxy Thursday, The Chemistry Project Band starting at 9 pm at The Suite Bar and Grill .
Irish Bred Pub in Montgomery
Every Sun at 9:30-12:30 CT
Third Thursday jazz jam session at the Irish Bred Pub Montgomery, 78 Dexter Ave, Montgomery, Alabama 36104, Corner of Dexter Ave and Perry St, 3 blocks from Capitol. Fo' mo' info, click here .
1048 Club in Montgomery
Every Sun at 9:30-12:30 CT

The 1048 Cafe is in Montgomery, AL. The weekly Jazz Jam led by Sam Williams, 9 pm CDT, $5 cover. I don't really know that much about it, but the 1048 has a jazz jam every Sunday from 9ish 'til whenever. Apparently the jam draws some incredible musicians. Fo' mo' info, click here .
The Suite in Columbus, GA
Every Sun from 6:00-11:30 ET
Michael Johnson and the Silent Threat Band plays at The Suite in Columbus, GA from 6-11:30 pm ET at The Suite Bar & Grill, 5300 Sidney Simons Blvd. Fo' mo' info 'bout the band, click here .
Piccolo's Lounge, Auburn

It's not a jam, but the Piccolo lounge offers a comfortable, clubby environment. Leather club chairs, a cozy fireplace and comfy banquettes serve as a relaxing getaway. Enjoy a single malt scotch and relax and unwind from a hectic day or meet friends to hear live jazz every Friday and Saturday night, of non-home football game weekends. Fo' mo' info, click here .
Videos of the Week
"Another One Bites the Dust" is quickly becoming the theme song for Donald J Trump's administration. I know it's too obvious... but it's still fun.


The music "The Awakening" from the Pat Metheny Group reminds me of Scottish music with Metheny's droning guitar effectively simulating the bagpipes. I know... that sounds like it would produce cacophony, but it doesn't.
Lyrics

I Remember You


Was it in Tahiti?
Were we on the Nile?
Long, long ago,
Say an hour or so
I recall that I saw your smile.

I remember you,
You`re the one who made
My dreams come true
A few kisses ago.

I remember you, 
You`re the one who said
"I love you, too," I do.
Didn`t you know?

I remember, too, 
A distant bell,
And stars that fell like rain
Out of the blue.

When my life is through,
And the angels ask me to recall
The thrill of them all,
Then I shall tell them
I remember you.

by Johnny Mercer

Jazz Association of Macon
We Promote Jazz in Macon
and Middle Georgia
Our purpose is to:

  • Encourage and support creation, presentation, and preservation of jazz music.
  • Support the creation of new audiences for jazz music.
  • Provide education and information about jazz.
  • Encourage young musicians to learn and appreciate jazz.
  • Develop a network among local and regional jazz advocates.
  • Increase awareness of jazz events and musicians in our community.

To read their blog, click here .

Area Musicians
Actually, this is a link to a page of my personal website, but it makes it much easier t maintain. It is a dynamic list of area musicians that will, hopefully, be continually updated until I can no longer do it. If you are a musician who is not listed or you are listed but with invalid info, please let me know, and I'll make the appropriate revisions. Thank you, and click here to visit the link.
High Museum of Art: Atlanta Jazz
Live jazz in the Robinson Atrium at the Atlanta High Museum of Art every 3rd Friday of the month. Fo' mo' info, click here .
On-line Radio
  • WCUG 88.5 Cougar Radio - Columbus State University.
  • KUNR 88.7 Reno, Nevada.
  • KNCJ 89.5 Reno, Nevado.
  • Saturday Night Jazz hosted by Scot Marshall and Dallas Smith (Columbus, GA native) - Scot and Dallas bring their rich musical experiences together in "Saturday Night Jazz" to feature music which ranges from the latest releases to jazz classics and occasional recordings by local artists, as well as announcements of upcoming local jazz events in the Reno-Tahoe area. "Saturday Night Jazz" is supported by the Reno Jazz Orchestra and For the Love of Jazz. Dallas' program airs on KUNR (kunr.org) from 10pm-12am PST/1am-3am EST. The 9pm-1pm EST broadcast is on KNCJ (streaming via the kunr.orgwebsite).
  • WCLK 99.1 Atlanta's Jazz Station, Clark Atlanta University.
  • Adore Jazz - Adore Jazz makes listeners relax, feel, think and smile through listening to the finest vocal jazz.
  • WTSU 88.9 Troy State University - Ray Murray's Jazz Radio Show Saturday nights at 10 pm Central Time.
  • WVAS 90.7 Montgomery - Jazz, Blues, News, and views.
Jazz Matters @ The Wren's Project
Preserving a musical culture, tradition & Art Form
 
Jazz Matters , Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that believes Jazz Matters, because music matters.  Jazz is America's only original art form and this national treasure was created by African Americans.

It is our vision to Preserve a Musical Culture, Tradition & Art Form by:
  • educating & developing new audiences;
  • inspiring new Jazz artists; and
  • providing a forum for artists to perform and perfect their craft

Peace Through Music
Valediction
Sunset. Silence. Serenity. Pause. Breathe. The denouement:

My Muse has been emphatically importunate lately; it has inspired this month’s issue of The Jazzonian and its expansive inflammatory rhetoric questioning my personal legitimacy as a parasitic mendicant totally dependent on anybody simply to survive, but, simultaneously, I am cognizant that major positive social changes are in the offing… ♪ the times are a-changing, insidiously morphing into a progressive movement that equitably embraces everybody on the planet as worthy of terrestrial inclusion. I may be on the ropes, but I will continue to resist the deportation of my personal volition as long as my septuagenarian parents are alive. Admittedly, no one else on the planet will take care of my needs as fastidiously as my folks; we are keeping each other alive—they keep me alive through meticulous care, and I keep their inertia in motion, but their collective dexterities are waning into sedation. What happens when atrophy overtakes their quotidian routine? Well, that depends on whether I remain a burden on my family or become an imposition of the government, a decision that is the crux of our nation’s current social conflict that centers on the definition of a viable citizen.

The despondency of today’s youth is the direct result of an austere conservative agenda that has—since Reagan (including Clinton and Obama)—effectuated the cataclysmic disparity between opulence and penury and has witnessed the outrageous discrimination in the distribution of resources, which benefits an insignificant percentage of the planet’s population and has, caustically, incarcerated much of our youth into the metaphoric prison of student debt, a financial obligation that has been nearly impossible to eliminate because conservative politics have litigated away the option of bankruptcy for recent grads who are unable to gain a livable wage after incurring the substantial debt of a college education. They have been negatively affected with austerity espoused by militant aggression that defines a pyramidal patriarchic authority, which, in turn, fosters inequitable largess that subjugates the majority to coddle an oligarchic leadership. A nurturing matriarchal authority will soon overwhelm the myopic sequacity to the specious and puerile rhetoric championed by them who benefit the most from the conservative agenda. The planet has enough resources to moderately house, feed, and medically treat everyone on the planet instead of selfishly catering to nepotistic superfluity. Politicians will soon be held accountable for supporting legislation that is self-enriching instead of utilitarian. A new political and economic system will ensue in which every planetary citizen will be capable of pursuing her personal path to happiness. When this happens, people like me (a quadriplegic who is unable to perform even the most rudimentary acts of daily living) may be able to chase our dreams.

Peace Through Music

Donate


If you can afford it, and you think this newsletter worthy, please send a $5, $10, or $20 check or money order to:

The Jazzinian FUN’d Drive
962 Washington Road
Hamilton, Georgia 31811

It ain’t that I’m a Luddite, it’s just that I don’t know how to add a donate button that auto-magically-electronically transfers funds into my banking account. Besides, “the man” always seems to have his too-large-to-fail hand reaching out, palm upwards, in anticipation of remuneration he doesn’t deserve, fees he assesses for banking services rendered electronically via a computer application written by an underpaid intern. I guess, in a sense, I am more like Ned Ludd, the English laborer who was supposed to have destroyed weaving machinery around 1779 because he felt that technology would destroy employment for the laborer, except that I won’t physically destroy anything… other than, perhaps, the practice of usury; I merely want the practice of charging interest on loans to die of entropy. So, I reckon that I am a Luddite in that I believe in moderation and that humanity thrives when the mind and body are engaged instead of when one uses her wit to absquatulate with unjustified and excessive wealth, especially when she’s done so little to earn it.

I currently pay out $20/month to use Constant Contact to publish this weekly newsletter. If I could, I’d earn the money by singing, but my options are limited to accessible stages, which are not very common at all, and there aren’t many stages exclusively for jazz. Jazz is only granted a small piece of the pie… but it’s my passion. Seems like my only concert options are The Loft in Columbus, GA and Eighth and Rail in Opelika, AL; although, in Opelika I use a portable ramp to get onstage; one does what one has to do. When I sing at Venkman’s jazz jam, the soundman brings the microphone to my table, but I’d love to be on stage. How else can I perfect my secondary ambition to be a standup comedian. Incidentally, I currently take a sleeping pill because one of the side effects is somnambulation, but I’m still waiting to awaken ambulating.

I also have ambitions to sing onstage with my friend Ted McVay whom I’ve known forty years. We have a unique sound that, I believe, can and will be appreciated by a wider audience. We harmonize really well together, and the songs he writes are creative, witty, poignant, and fun to sing. Once we get a bit o’ steam, we’re bound to be a formidable, creative musical energy, positive, peaceful, loving. I will then, hopefully, make enough dough to overpay the people I need to assist me in acts of daily living. My family has already done so much for me and need a break. Thirty-two years is an awful long burden… thirty-three this April 18. ‘Til then, if you are able to comfortably part ways with a few bucks, I sure could use it.

Social Media Experiment

In an ignorant attempt to exploit social media to expand my personal fan base, I've created this section to list hashtags and other metadata that might auto-magically give more access to the newsletter I write. Hope it works.

#Wheelchairistacracy #SouthernStrategy #QuestForBest #GroovicusMaximus #FantastAbility #WheelChairistotle #SCI #Handicapplication #Impairistotle #MuscoviteMarionette #BlackLivesMatter 
#Wheelcherry #RudePundit #MakeStagesAccessible 

@SSTJazzVocalist @frangelaDuo @JoeGransden @AtlantaMagazine @VenkmansATL @rudepundit @MalcolmNance @EricBoehlert @CharlesPPierce @StephMillerShow @JohnFugelsang @Thom_Hartmann @anniesellick  @TheRealTBone